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Kelly Cheek
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I Melt With You

Saturday morning of last week, it started snowing. It didn’t stop snowing until early Monday morning.

My wife loves snow. She loves how clean and beautiful and magical it makes everything look. So I don’t gripe about it (too much). And the fact is, I think it’s fine, too, when I don’t have to go driving around town in it. According to the forecast, it was supposed to start snowing on Friday night, and finish up early Sunday. I thought that, for once, it might actually work out in my favor. The snow would be around over the weekend, when neither of us had to go out anywhere. Around here, it’s not uncommon for a blizzard to occur, followed by the sun coming out and quickly melting it, so it was conceivable that the sun could come out on Sunday and start melting it away, in time for my trip to work on Monday.

Alas, that’s not the way this one worked. Not on the weekend, anyway.

It didn’t start snowing until late Saturday morning. On Sunday, when I saw how much it had snowed already, and that it wasn’t supposed to stop for a while, I arranged to stay home the next day. I live twenty miles away from work. My coworker lives a couple of blocks away. He was going to do what I go in so early to do. I’d still do my online work, but I didn’t have to go out and drive across town in the snow.

Suddenly, the snow was beautiful to me, too.

Of course, there’s still the other part about snow that I don’t like. Shoveling it. And I knew that was going to be quite a project on Monday.

In our ongoing (but not tireless) search for where we’re going to move, we’ve been looking at the Algarve region in southern Portugal, the south of France, parts of Italy and Spain. Places where it doesn’t snow. Granted, they’re all close enough to snow that we can take a day trip or a weekend when Linda wants a snow fix. But it won’t be a regular seasonal part of our life.

By the time Monday arrived, 16 inches of snow had fallen in my part of town. I did my work online, then we had some lunch and went outside and started digging out.

I didn’t like shoveling snow when I was a kid in Kansas. I particularly don’t like shoveling snow at 61 years old. By the time we were done, I was cursing science. Why couldn’t snow be made out of air instead of water?

The next morning, as we were talking at breakfast, as we often do, about our plans (okay, they’re more intentions than actual plans yet, although they are getting closer), we made some determinations about what things we were going to keep, and what to do with the things we don’t keep. We talked about when we need to get the paperwork started for the D7 visa for Portugal. (See? We’re zeroing in.)

If we do go to Portugal, it’s kind of a complicated song-and-dance, but the D7 visa would allow us to stay in the country for four months. We want to apply for the NHR, or the awkwardly-named “Non-Habitual Resident” program, which would give us ten years of really good tax rates. But we have to have been living in Portugal for six months before we can apply for it, two months beyond what the D7 visa allows, so after getting the D7 visa and getting over there, then we would apply for the D7 residency, which would give us a year there, and after six months, we apply for the NHR and wait for it to be approved.

We’re looking at getting all of that started on the back side of next year. The point I was about to make before I decided I had to do all that setup is that, during our talk that morning, Linda said that we’ll likely have only one more winter here.

I can’t really describe the warm feeling that washed over me when she said that.

As I said in an earlier post, neither of us do well in tropical or equatorial climates. But as I sit here writing this, with snow piled up to four feet in places, it’s sunny and 69° in Lagos, Portugal. Average lows are in the mid-40s in the winter, and average highs are in the low 80s in the summer. Definitely doable.

So as we sit here insulated under our heavy blanket of snow, we’re hoping to be (adopted) Europeans in about a year and a half. That seems like a long way off, except when I realize how quickly time has been passing lately.

I better get busy selling my books!